The Legislature is currently holding hearings on whether or not Michigan should continue implementation of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for our K12 public schools. In our view, the answer is a resounding yes.
Consider this: In Michigan today, only 68% of third graders are reading at proficiency; only 76% of our students graduate from high school and, of those who graduate, about only 20% are ready for a career or college. We must do better if our children are to succeed in an increasingly competitive global economy that rewards those with more knowledge, more skill, and who are more innovative.
The standards are not a silver bullet, but they are a critical step forward if Michigan is to compete and win in the future. They are a set of clear expectations that are benchmarked against high-performing regions around the world. The standards will ensure that our student-preparation will be second to none and let us know if Michigan children are learning at the same pace as those in Indiana and Ohio or India and Japan. The CCSS help us gauge if every child, in every district of the state, regardless of zip code is getting the knowledge and skills necessary for a career or to further his/her education. Finally, they provide an opportunity for Michigan to learn from innovative practices in other states that may be getting better results. The standards are not, as some have expressed, a curriculum – all decisions about what materials to use or how to teach are still made at the local level.
Much of the current debate over the CCSS revolves around their origins. While many groups, both public and private, have endorsed or supported the effort to develop the standards, it merits note that it was state Governors and local Superintendents – not the federal government – that first embraced the standards and called for their adoption. Michigan became one of 45 states to adopt the standards when our State Board of Education, a publicly elected body, voted to do so.
BLM supports the Common Core State Standards. With the CCSS, we are setting consistent expectations for what our students should know whether they live in Detroit or Dowegiac, and setting the bar high so that Michigan children are as well educated as any students in the world. Let’s spend less time worrying about whose idea it was and more time making sure our kids are learning in school so they are ready for a career or college when they graduate and are prepared to succeed.
Click here to view BLM’s E-Alert on Common Core